Q. WHAT WILL I BE IF I’M NOT AN ARTIST?
A. THINK OF HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE GOTTEN LAID WITHOUT EVEN TALKING ABOUT ART **
Waiters, invigilators, cafe workers, bookshop staff, technicians – artists spend the majority of their careers not being artists in order to support their practice.
Plan 9 Trade Union was set up to radicalise artworkers in their satellite careers.
The Art Workers Coalition of the 1970’s called for the end of art institutions.
The Art Strike of the 1990’s called for the end of art.
Plan 9 Trade Union calls for covert sedition rather than overt cessation.
In 2008, Relational commissioned Plan 9 to respond to Far West, and exhibition at the Arnolfini, Bristol, which explored the shifting of the economic centre of the world to the East.
Most of the staff (technicians, invigilators, cafe and shop staff) in large arts institutions are artists.
Plan 9 members Sophie Mellor and Karen Di Franco created Plan 9 Trade Union which was founded to:
1. To protect the rights of freelance artworkers
2. To ensure freelance artworkers are treated fairly by their employers
3. To negotiate good and fair working conditions for Plan 9 Trade Union members
4. To acknowledge the hidden art economy endemic in all major art institutions, which is staffed and visited by artworkers, and without which art institutions would struggle to find such gifted and qualified workers.
Plan 9 Trade Union members staffed the Far West off-site store, which was located in the Galleries Shopping Centre, Broadmead, Bristol. Plan 9 Trade Union negotiated the terms and conditions of employment of Union members with the Management of Arnolfini and Relational. Details of the series of negotiations and communications between Plan 9 Trade Union and Management at this link http://plan9tradeunion.blogspot.co.uk/
Plan 9 Trade Union members paid a percentage of their wages as Union subs, and this money will be used by Plan 9 Trade Union to assist the careers of Union members.
Plan 9 shop stewards (Sophie Mellor and Karen Di Franco) negotiated with Arnolfini and Relational the Plan 9 Trade Union Terms and Conditions. A history of this negotiation is below:
>> Final Draft of Plan 9 Trade Union Terms and Conditions (pdf)
>> Third Draft of Plan 9 Trade Union Terms and Conditions (pdf)
>> Second Draft of Plan 9 Trade Union Terms and Conditions (pdf)
>> First Draft of Plan 9 Trade Union Terms and Conditions (pdf)
Plan 9 Trade Union existed for the finite period of the Far West project at the Arnolfini (27 June – 24 July 2008).
For further information about Far West visit: www.farwest.cn
** Question number 7 from ’20 of the most difficult, awkward and searching questions you could ask about the art strike (1990-1993), YAWN, Sept 22, 1989.